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Guest post: Digiscoping with Nikon Fieldscope EDG85 via FSA-L2 DSLR Photo Adapter on Nikon D300s

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I was always curious to see the Nikon Fieldscope EDG85 in action. Few days ago I was contacted by Jason Bugay Reyes Azahari who shared some images with me taken with the EDG85 and Nikon D300s (plus the FSA-L2 adapter). This is his guest post:

Busy with my new born baby, I took the opportunity to test my new scope, the Nikon Fieldscope EDG85, Digital Photo Adapter FSA-L2 for my Nikon D300s and the EDG 20-60x zoom eyepiece.

Shooting range with DX format is from 750mm - 2625mm (500mm - 1750mm in FX format) on f/5.9-f/22 at the same time I could use my zoom eyepiece for normal viewing. Changing between zoom eyepiece with the FSA-L2 adapter took me less than 10 seconds because it uses bayonet type mount rather than threaded in the Nikon Fieldscope ED82 and shooting is done in manual focus. This is very important considering the unpredictable behavior of birds. Changing eyepiece and adapter on the field is much faster and convenient now.

Attached with directional microphone for video recording

The Field Of View (FOV) of the new EDG 20-60x zoom eyepiece is considered the widest in the market available for its range in magnification compared with the older MC II 25-75x zoom eyepiece. Viewing birds, wildlife, moon and stars as well for security purposes is a pleasure with the eyepiece offering edge-to-edge sharpness hence the concept of EDG by Nikon.

I have been digiscoping with compact cameras for few years using Nikon Fieldscope ED82 plus the FSA-L1 adapter on Nikon D300s. But with the introduction of Nikon Fieldscope EDG and the elusive FSA-L2 adapter, my picture quality has improved a lot and Nikon has taken digiscoping into higher level for birdwatchers. It means that, I could shoot in faster frame per second with my Nikon D300s and also recording videos of birds and wildlife in HD format.

For more info regarding Nikon EDG products, check Nikon Vision website at http://www.nikon.com/products/sportoptics/edg/

Azahari Reyes @ Jason a.k.a horukuru is working as a bird guide in Sabah, Borneo Island and is active in documenting endemic species as well during the winter migration season. He represent Nikon Malaysia as an invited spoke person for Nikon EDG products.

Pictures has been published locally in promoting conservation of birds in Sabah as well promoting birding market under Sabah Tourism Board.

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo

For more info check his blog @ http://horukuru.blogspot.com

More images can be found on flickr.

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses, [NR] Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Ben Brickwall

    That would be sweet on a D800.

  • http://nikonkrab.multiply.com/ HotDuckZ

    ARGGGGHHHHH

    “I want one” :P

  • Craig

    It is all about the IQ, and the IQ doesn’t look so great to me on the posted images. I’ll pass, thanks.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fredmullerpix Fred Muller

      I agree…

    • Dexter0508

      pixel peeping :P

    • John

      Good input Dbag

    • http://www.juandiegojr.com juandiegojr

      chromatic aberrations…

  • plug

    I have an EDG 85 angled scope with the zoom eyepiece. It is magnificent, out performing the Leica and Swarovski equivalents in my opinion. I am very interested in the FSA-L1 adaptor for my D700. Has anyone done any proper investigations into the resultant image quality?

  • alx

    I think it’s a really expensive solution for the result. Not quite sharp, a really harsh bokeh and ok huge focale length, but quite dark…

    Including no autofocus, I really do not want one !

    • plug

      Not the point. It is primarily a spotting scope, being a camera lens is very secondary. For us wildlife watchers it is a magnificent device.

      • robert

        I thanks you sir!

      • robert

        thank you sir!

    • Banned

      I don’t know that it’s really expensive, compare that with a real lens of same focal length…

      • alx

        4400$ with adapter, aproximatively the price of a Sigma 500mm f/4.5n much sharper !

        • http://horukuru.blogspot.com Jason Bugay Reyes

          And you won’t be able to use the Sigma lens with compact camera for Digiscoping :)

  • preston

    interesting – thanks for the writeup!

  • robert

    You can always tell a bunch of lazy ass photogs complaining about bokeh and IQ. If yoou had come from the fim days of no autofocus you would realize the significant improvement Nikon Imaging has produced,rather than dismissing as easily as most of you ‘techie/consumer’ photogs already have.

    • Joe

      LoL.. It’s a stretch to refer to them as “photographers”

      “Camera Nerds” might be a better choice of words.

    • Daniel

      Rather, you can always tell the modern era internet nerd when they’re so eager to vital image quality as “pixel peeping”, or whatever Ken Rockwell’s latest name for it is.

      I too come from “film days”. (And actually, I still shoot with an F2AS and a little F70.) Are there any other qualifications you require of people before they make judgement? The image quality in the samples shown is poor. It’s that simple. Sure, the technology is lovely, but on the evidence of this article it doesn’t give good photographs.

      Now, since you judged people as “techie/consumer photogs” because they rightly see poor image quality, I’d be amused, I’m sure, to see your photographs.

      • iamlucky13

        You say the image quality is poor, and compared to some lenses that’s true, but it’s better than any other 500mm – 1750mm zoom I’ve ever seen.

        As the folks on the discussion board who actually would have a use for one of these point out, this isn’t a camera lens. It’s a field scope, and the fact that it adapts decently as a lens in the field adds to its utility.

        It would be well worth reading Mr. Reyes comment further down on this page, especially the quote from his friend commenting on the difference between field scopes and lenses.

      • Asdf

        Old whiny “film” squares (to use a term from their era) are more annoying than “camera nerds” for sure.

  • Dweeb

    Thought I could finally buy a professional L lense for my body.

    • WoutK89

      I guess a gold ring is too reflective on a field scope

  • Joe

    Im sure this will be a hit for birders, but actual bird photographers wouldn’t even think about one of those little tubes.

  • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

    Peter, more posts like this, please! This is very interesting. :)

  • Dean

    I notice that the sharpest picture is the first… the one of the camera/lens.

    • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

      Well, for the price of this fieldscope you can’t expect more. Imagine how pricey will be upcoming AF-S 800 mm that was rumored some time ago.

  • eric kallen

    Digiscoping is very difficult. The resultant images are mostly awful. Using a DSLR the viewfinder is dark, especially at higher magnifications. The slightest vibration is fatal unless you shoot at a very high shutter speed. At high magnification even finding the target in the viewfinder is difficult, especially with an angled scope. Decent scopes run $2500-3500.oo plus the cost of a very solid tripod and head. Add the cost of the adapter – $900 for the one shown in use with the Nikon Fieldscope and you’ve spent as much or more than a good lens .

    The best digiscope shots are taken from short distance – usually within the range of a 300/f4 with a 1.4TC, which makes a better choice than a digiscoping set up.

    There is a place for digiscoping. If you’re bird watching through a scope and need just a record shot of a rare species, not a good photo, you can use the Nikon P6000. It works reasonably well with the addition of about $250.00 work of adapters and rings. You can carry these small items with you in the field and quickly, well sort of quickly, attach the components together and get a shot that otherwise you’d miss. But your shot with a the 300mmf/4 with a 1.4/ 1.7 TC would probably be better.

    • Tony

      Good point.

      So, it comes down to different person/gear/project (in that order).

  • AnoNemo

    ;-)

  • Ken Elliott

    Excellent post. It’s nice to see how others apply the craft.

    I agree with the others that it is not as sharp as an actual camera lens. But I grasp that isn’t a camera lens, and the quality is pretty good for what it is. I expected far worse.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://horukuru.blogspot.com Jason Bugay Reyes

    Hio guys,

    Thanks for the comments and feedback. Really appreciate it. Other images taken with my scope at http://www.flickr.com/photos/34746277@N02/

    These setup is considered the maximum birders could carry in the field ~ around 6kg and because when I lead birding tours in my place, I normally walked for more than 5kg in a day to look for birds and other wildlife. Means I won’t be able to carry other lenses because I have my binocular, water bottle, recording kit etc with me. Weight is very important for me.

    So the concept introduced by Nikon Vision is to help birders to capture the moment when opportunity arise by either using the FSA-L2 Adapter with DSLR or eyepiece mounted with FSB-U1 adapter with compact camera for still images and videos. This is a 2 in 1 equipment in manual focus.

    If my main priority is taking pictures, the 300mm 2.8 would be my choice for in flight shots and fast moving birds then my EDG scope coupled with 25x or 30x eyepiece with Nikon P7000, I get 1000mm f2.8 is for the low light rainforest where I normally works and by experience, I could get sharp images around 1/20 and below with my scope which is almost impossible with DSLR.

    Below is a quote by a friend of mine regarding decision in buying equipment for photography.

    ” This was posted by a friend Stephen Ingraham of Carl Zeiss USA on another forum, I think it sums up the question very well which does get asked quite often.

    Q: Should I buy a scope and camera or a long lens?

    You don’t buy a scope to take pictures of birds. You buy a scope to look at birds. That is what it was made for. You carry it the field while birding to look at birds. If you have an interest in photography as well, you can attach a camera to the scope to take pictures of birds. It is a lot of fun, will produce some amazingly satisfying images, and adds very little weight or expense beyond what you are already carrying. And, you can take photos of the birds you see from fairly long distances, casually, without much special effort beyond attaching the camera. That’s digiscoping.

    You don’t buy a lens to look at birds. You buy a lens to take pictures of birds. That is what was made for. You carry it in the field while photographing birds. That involves a whole set of skills, mostly centered on getting close enough to the bird to fill the frame. If you want to also look at birds, you carry binoculars and use them when you get close enough (because you certainly are NOT carrying both a spotting scope and a long lens, and you are not getting very satisfying looks at birds through your long lens). With experience and skill your images of birds will be beyond satisfying…they will be stunningly detailed studies of the living creature. That’s bird photography.

    There are three reasons a photographer might buy a spotting scope and small camera instead of a lens, if he or she is willing to accept the level of image quality possible with digiscoping. Working from a distance, image quality with digiscoping will be as good as and generally considerably better than a long lens working much beyond frame filling distance (arguably, but that is my experience), but it will never equal the quality of a frame filling bird taken at 12 feet with 600mm lens, or even at 24 feet with a 2X extender. The three reasons: 1) indeed, to work from greater distances than a long lens allows, 2) to limit the weight and bulk of the equipment carried (a scope and camera is always going to be lighter and easier to carry than a long lens), and 3) to control expense (Even the best digiscoping rig will cost half what a 600mm lens does) “

    So Digiscoping and taking pictures with telephoto lens is totally two different league. Unless you willing to carry e.g 500mm lens and scopes both for taking pictures, it is up to you :)

    My main resource for Birding and Digiscoping at http://birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=243

    Happy birding and Digiscoping :)

    • Nek Mockwell

      Thanks man,…hard to believe after all these years,you still have to tell people it’s what you have when you need it…as to what dictates quality over convenience..etc..

      Beats the snot out of mirror bokeh and/or cropping in a lot of certain circumstances!

    • NG42

      Awesome. Thanks for the info Jason. Very informative. And great images.

  • JPUser

    Thanks for your post ! It is a great idea and honestly i didn’t know about it. Pictures look great for such a range.

    I wonder what adapter it is necessary for a camera like P7000 that you mentioned it ? Can I use the Nikon P500 35x zoom ? (it reaches 800mm)

    I also want to have such a range 750mm – 2625mm on my Nikon D7000.

  • http://horukuru.blogspot.com Jason Bugay Reyes
  • Aaron

    Hmm could you attach a lens doubler to that and double the focal length????

    Please let me know!

    That would be some serious distance!

    • http://horukuru.blogspot.com Jason Bugay Reyes

      Aaron,

      Should be but I never tried it because for my needs, the 500 – 1750mm is enough especially recording with video because as you increased the magnification from 500mm, the aperture also changed.

      When I used Nikon P7000 with 25xLER eyepiece, I can get around 2000mm – 3000mm which is very good for shooting Waterbirds.

  • pethunia

    I think the attached images look very good – considering the tools!
    It is important to remember that usually field scopes are used for observation and not photography, but that it is a very logical wish to be able to ‘bring home’ some images while observing. With this quality, that is very satisfying indeed!

  • PAG

    Here’s more information and samples on using the EDG scope for digiscoping. You can also use Nikon’s less expensive FieldScope line for digiscoping.

    http://www.surfbirds.com/Features/nikonbirding0909/nikonbirding0909.html

  • Darren

    I had been wondering about this subject for a while and not getting around to doing the research myself; so thanks a lot for writing this up and sharing.

  • Sayantan Dutta

    Any adaptor (Like the FSA-L2 which attaches Nikon DSLR) available with which X-Series cameras – like X-E2 can be added with this Spotting scope? Please share

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